Five... Joe's top 5 album's of the year so far.

The latest addition in our five things series... It wouldn't be complete without a round-up of the top 5 albums released in 2015, considering we're pretty much halfway through the year so far.
As Inner City is collaboration (that's right, we've all got different opinions...), this won't be the only top 5 album list we put out. 

Check out social media manager Joe's top 5 albums of the year so far...

5) Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
In a world seemingly now infected with ‘surprise’ album releases, it seems indicative of the times that Drake could drop a release with zero promotion and it completely turn the world upside down. However, this wasn’t an album. Views From The 6 is expected later in the year – If You’re Reading was billed as a mixtape, but was really more of a statement. Full of bravado, cuts like ‘Energy’ & ‘Legend’ saw Drake at his bragging-best, rapping with intent and vigour, reaffirming his seemingly endless reach with an immediate charge to number 1 in the Billboard charts. That’s a mixtape, remember. In the album charts – at number 1. Eat your heart out, Weezy.

4) Jamie xx – In Colour
Whilst In Colour did admittedly suffer a hammer-blow review from Resident Advisor, it’s very much a record that encourages the listener to draw their own conclusions. Not quite a club-ready album, not quite an ambient, after-hours experience – it doesn’t pigeon-hole itself as neatly as anticipated and it’s easy to see how that’s contributed to a mixed reception. We, however, liked it very much. The pre-released, streamable content was perhaps the strongest the album had to offer, with cuts ‘Oh My Gosh’ and ‘Loud Places’ received favourably. But it’s the bouncy, dancehall-infused ‘I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)’ with Young Thug & Popcaan that really steals the spotlight. An unorthodox listen when compared to the rest of the record, but it’s a welcome change of pace that makes the whole package sound a little friendlier – and that’s no bad thing. One of our favourites this year.

3) Mbongwana Star – From Kinshasa
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t popping champagne on NYE 2015 thinking I’d be spending the early months of the summer obsessively listening to Congolese dance-music produced by an Irishman. But that’s exactly what’s happened. From Kinshasa is a frenetic record full of bold percussion and brilliantly vibrant vocals. Stand-out track (of which there are many) ‘Malukayi’ is a wonderfully quirky, electronic afro-beat masterpiece. The whole thing is just great. Buy it. Buy it now.

2)  Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
A feature in most ‘best of the year so far…’ lists, and who could argue? There was mixed reception initially for To Pimp a Butterfly and perhaps for good reason. The decision to release ‘i’ as the pre-release track was misleading for fans of Maad City. A jazzy, catchy record, ‘i’ was drenched in 2013 Kendrick. When TPAB finally arrived, it was darker than anticipated. Jazz-infused, yes – but also politically charged. It was a proper statement album, a commentary on fractured race-relations in Kendrick’s home country during production; it seemed proper, it seemed right. Eventually, listeners started to appreciate the album for what it is, a seminal release of our time. Plus, ‘King Kunta’ is pretty much the best tune ever made, so…

1)      Panda Bear – Meets The Grim Reaper
Where to start? Meets the Grim Reaper is a gorgeously deep, meaningful piece of music. Panda Bear’s signature, his almost monk-in-a-monastery-like voice is a beautiful constant amongst shifting tonal landscapes throughout. The pianos on ‘Lonely Wonderer’ echo & reverb, the synths on ‘Selfish Gene’ punch and stab – it’s a journey. Not in a cliché-y way, either. Every so often the steady stream of dreamy & nightmarish electronica is juxtaposed with shorter, darker instrumentals like ‘Davy Jones Locker’ & ‘Shadow of the Colossus. At under a minute long, these isolating junctions remind the listener how sparse Panda Bear’s productions can be. It almost brings a tear to my eye, it’s that good. Honestly.

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